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Volume 25 No. 64
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Weekend Plans With Lindsay Czarniak: Daytona Bound With JGR

Czarniak has enjoyed her return to racing this week, especially in connecting with drivers and their crew

Veteran sports reporter LINDSAY CZARNIAK has returned to her racing roots for a unique opportunity around this weekend's season-opening NASCAR races at Daytona Int'l Speedway. Czarniak, an admitted racing buff who years ago worked as a pit reporter and studio host for TNT’s NASCAR coverage, will work with Joe Gibbs Racing's social and digital team to produce content for the team’s Facebook and Instagram feeds leading up to Sunday’s Daytona 500. Czarniak: "It’s been a tremendous opportunity to get this access with the drivers and race teams where we can dig deep into what makes them tick. It’s about getting to know them as people." Czarniak, who has been on the ground in Daytona since Thursday morning, spoke to THE DAILY on how the opportunity came about and what she hopes the project can bring to racing fans over one of their biggest weekends of the year.

HOW IT ALL CAME TOGETHER: This was pretty unexpected. I was down in Charlotte a few weeks ago at Joe Gibbs Race Shop. I was in town to prepare for Super Bowl coverage for the NBC station in DC. We were doing an interview with Joe Gibbs himself because he was the last coach to win a Super Bowl in Minnesota. I have a long, long history with him because of my days working back in Washington when he was coaching the Redskins. So I’m there having a conversation with one of my friends at the shop, who also happens to be in charge for PR for Gibbs’ racing team. We were talking about my interests, some of the things I’m focusing on right now, and then they mentioned they had some roles they were considering for Daytona weekend. A few days later I get a call when I’m back home in Connecticut and they say, "Listen, know we talked about this … you’re a free agent, we’re in a situation where we would love to try it and see what you think."

ALL ABOARD: Needless to say I was pumped. This is exactly the kind of content that I love. Having the chance to interview and get to know the people that are part of the sport that I cover. That’s always been one of the top things I’ve enjoyed about my job. Frankly, I was just as pumped talking to Joe Gibbs about football as I was to take a peak at what was going on in their race shop. Being around the people in this sport, the nature of it, it’s really special. It was the perfect timing to try to do something new. If we can do it the right way, it could become something that’s really beneficial for fans and maybe even cutting edge.

DRIVING FORCE: Friday night and Saturday I’ll be going to drivers and motor coaches, getting to know their stories. We’re also doing a podcast with three different drivers from Gibbs' team in the Xfinity Series. It’s a different type of media venture and we’re editing the interviews we’ve done to put on a couple different social platforms. We’ve also already done some Facebook Live showing what’s going on here at the track. It’s aiming to be an all-access feed on drivers when they’re free and then also being ready for anything unexpected. It’s really to give fans a live look at what’s happening on the inside here.

IN THE MEANTIME: My kids take up the majority of my free time because they’re just balls of energy themselves, but my husband and I do love to go to concerts when we can. I love to travel, especially to somewhere warm -- which makes Daytona right now pretty amazing. Bora Bora was a phenomenal recent trip and I also made it out to the Grand Canyon last year as well. TV-wise, I really enjoyed the documentary “HISTORY OF THE EAGLES” (on the rock band, not the NFL team) and I’m hooked on “GAME OF THRONES,” though I’m not fully caught up. My airplane material is “BALLERS” with DWAYNE JOHNSON.